While (former) Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was dismissed publicly by Trump on Tuesday, the speculation over when Tillerson found out he was fired rages on.
As I wrote earlier, while CNN was running with “Tillerson found out via tweet,” the Washington Post was reporting Tillerson was phoned on Friday by an administration official and asked to step aside.
Tillerson then canceled meetings for the weekend and flew home on Monday.
The latest report from the Associated Press alleges White House Chief of Staff John Kelly phoned Secretary Tillerson on Friday and told him to keep an eye out for a possible announcement from the President on Twitter.
The State Department said Tillerson only learned of his termination when he read Trump’s tweet on Tuesday morning. Two senior department officials said Tillerson received a call from John Kelly, Trump’s chief of staff, on Friday, but was only told that there might be a presidential tweet that would concern him. Kelly didn’t tell Tillerson what the tweet might say or when it might actually publish, according to the official, who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter and demanded anonymity.
It’s hard to say what happened here. It is perfectly plausible the Tweeter in Chief and lover of TV ratings would choose to conduct a firing via social media. At the same time, while John Kelly has been a disappointment at times in his role as chief of staff, it’s difficult to believe he would play such juvenile games with a colleague like Rex Tillerson.